The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government has said that the country’s immigration policies will remain as they were, however Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said under the Christie administration, the laws regarding illegal immigration will be strictly enforced.
Throughout the recent election campaign, the PLP made border security and illegal immigration big issues that it used to blast the former administration.
The immigration minister, who refused to reveal any specific details of what his government’s immigration security operations strategy will entail, said that all the relevant agencies involved in the process have been given their orders.
Mr. Mitchell announced last week in the House of Assembly during his contribution to the budget debate that the government has earmarked $ 1 million for the repatriation of illegal immigrants.
This figure matches the amount allocated for the repatriation of illegal immigrants during the last fiscal period while total expenditure of the Immigration Department is $20,205,569.
Mr. Mitchell assured that border security and enforcement of immigration laws will be the order of the day.
“I have made up my mind. I’m not actually making any predictions about that [security operations]” he said. “I think security operations should be just what they are and when they take place people will exactly what they are.
“The best that I can say is that the law will be strictly enforced to protect the borders. That’s what I have said to the enforcement division and that’s what I expect they will do. Security issues are not things that we discuss in public. The enforcement people have their orders and they know what to do. As a general proposition, the laws are going to be strictly enforced.”
The government has also announced that it plans to construct two dormitories at The Bahamas Detention Centre, which it estimates will cost $973,900.
Additionally, $260,000 has been set aside for the maintenance and upkeep of the centre.
Mr. Mitchell also said that $10,000 has been allocated for publication of notices, advertisements and broadcast time.
“This is an area that I hope that the department places greater focus on in the new year,” he said. “The public relations and general information should be a key focus moving forward.”
Mr. Mitchell also revealed that revenue at the Department of Immigration stood at $42 million at the end of last month.